Emergency-Response Communications to Reach Phones

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Emergency-Response Communications to Reach Phones

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<b>President announces plans to improve system</b>

By: Lisa Davis
Posted: 5/18/07

Boston University will be prepared to contact almost all students and staff in emergencies this fall with a mass communications system that uses text messaging, voicemail and email, President Robert Brown announced Wednesday in an email sent to the community.

The "Send Word Now" system -- which uses all three message types -- was introduced to the campus this year to some extent, but it will be developed more over the summer, Brown said in the email.

"In light of the deadly tragedy at Virginia Tech University, we are reviewing Boston University&#39;s emergency response plans and communication systems to ensure that they are the best available," Brown said in the email.

The improved system would also notify response teams "within minutes" of an emergency, Brown said. In an email to The Daily Free Press, Brown said he expects the school would be able to contact everyone in less than 10 minutes.

Students are not required to register their cellphone numbers in the school directory, which is one flaw in reaching everyone in an emergency, Brown said in an April 27 interview. However, in his email to the community, Brown said incoming students will be required to register cellphone numbers or alternative contact numbers, and he encouraged current students to do so on the Student Link website.

"We will require the information for all students studying on our Boston campuses," Brown said in the email to the Free Press. "Otherwise, the system would only reach a fraction of our students."

The communications system "has been in place," said BU spokesman Colin Riley. "Texting is just one avenue of reaching people. We&#39;re trying to find the most effective system possible," he added.

The method was introduced about a year ago at a university meeting that addressed a possible avian flu outbreak, Riley said.

"This assessment is to ensure and reinforce our view that students&#39; safety is our highest priority," Riley said. "The best that will come out of this is that everyone is aware, and the seriousness of these systems are recognized and appreciated. We&#39;re always looking to enhance communications with students."

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Original Source:<a href=http://media.www.dailyfreepress.com/media/storage/paper87/news/2007/05/18/News/EmergencyResponse.Communications.To.Reach.Phones-2905215.shtml>Daily Free Press - May 18, 2007</a>

Creator

Lisa Davis

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Publisher

Daily Free Press

Date

2007-08-09

Contributor

Sara Hood

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Matt Negrin <editor@dailyfreepress.com>

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eng

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Citation

Lisa Davis, "Emergency-Response Communications to Reach Phones," in The April 16 Archive, Item #974, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/974 (accessed September 18, 2014).